What Rainforest?

What Happened at ‘What Rainforest?’ ?
July 14, 2008, 3:38 am
Filed under: Campaign, Indigenous People, Oil Palm

There is no room for the rainforest at the Sarawak Rainforest World Music Festival. The calls for its preservation by the indigenous people of Sarawak was met with a barrage of uniformed and plainclothes policeman eager to squash any form of protest.

Finally, there was some form of reality at the RWMF on its last night – some 60 villagers whose rainforests homes are on the verge of being destroyed, yet by another oil palm development – staged a silent protest at the venue entrance.

While visitors to the festival were celebrating the glories of rainforests, few are aware that the festival is a big rose-tinted event by the Sarawak Tourism Board that conveniently ignores the plunder of the rainforests that displace the indigenous communities.

If you were a witness or are a supporter of the ‘what rainforest?’ campaign. We would like you to share your thoughts and experiences at the candlelight vigil. Please click on ‘comment’ below and type away…

ps: a full account of the events that took place at the candlelight vigil will be posted soon. Keep visiting http://www.whatrainforest.com

pps: the ‘What Rainforest?’ film will be uploaded soon on this page.


15 Comments so far
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From a purely marketing point of view, i thought your leaflets were rubbish. No bias exercised, the message of the first leaflet was unclear. I understood it perfectly, but there were many around me who were left wondering what it meant. Perhaps it was the context in which they were distributed. Not many expected activist propaganda i guess…

Your coloured leaflet, was ok but where did u get your facts actually? 5% of untouched rainforest, i.e. not a single tree felled, i presume?? not a flower plucked? it is indeed suspect. If that’s the case then the Orang asli must be to blame for “deflowering” some of the rainforests with their agriculture and livelihood activities isn’t it?

I believe the commonly known figures are ~75% of malaysia are rainforest areas, ~13% (and increasing, i agree) is palm oil land. Of course perhaps this 75% includes “touched” forests but they are rain forests nonetheless. In my opinion i don’t think malaysia would rebuff allegations of the EU and australia (who claim the same as you do – too much oil palm, very little rainforests) with facts whose integrity is so flimsy.

Also, my friends pointed out that you were printing on paper. recycled paper? fresh bark? i have no idea. Again, from a branding and marketing point of view, image is important and colourprinting on paper, using white paper (presumable not recycled but i may stand corrected) AND using three different flyers? whoa. bad for image.

Of course it is arguably a small price to pay for a bigger cause, a better pay off and a better quality of life for all indigenous. But then again, wouldn’t the oil palm estates be defended in the same manner? “A small sacrifice for the betterment of national wealth” Definitely looks small since we still have 75% rainforest.

Indeed i am sympathetic of the tribes.. Their silent protest… spot on. Not so sure about the effectiveness of yours though, even if it was allowed to happen.

Comment by jason

Is Jason really sympathethic to ‘the tribes’ like he claims? Sounds more like he thinks ‘bad marketing’ is a gravely heinious crime by itself (to warrant 6 paras of comment padded with ill-thought analogies).

It would be more in-line with his values (if he really IS sympathethic to ‘the tribes’) to offer some good suggestions, or maybe even offer to donate to the leaflet makers to print on recycled paper, which I’m sure they will most certainly want to if they can afford it. To compare this againts oil palm estates’“A small sacrifice for the betterment of national wealth”
is simply ridiculous.

This is like the authorities in KL making sure taxi drivers wear smart uniforms when the urgent and more obvious problems with our transportation system isn’t to do with clothing compliance.

i’d suggest give suggestions and help where appropriate and seek clarifications where needed, if one is really sympathetic to the cause.

Comment by a tribe

Perhaps you could have raised funds instead of trying to raise awareness at a music festival where half the people are drunk/ stoned. With so many foreigners there… you could’ve really raised quite a bit man.

And don’t belittle marketing. I’m really sick and tired of seeing activist propaganda pop up like mushrooms. Marketing teaches you that the ultimate goal of all marketing is behaviour – in this case, perhaps contribute to the cause of the natives.

Awareness – Attitude(intention) – Behaviour

Like many activist mumbojumbo i’ve seen, you only sought to appeal to awareness. Look at the Live8 concerts. Awareness – very good. Attitude – 30% changed their attitudes maybe. Behaviour – giving to those people in need: near zero?

If allowed to go on, your rally/protest/perhimpunan haram would have gone down the same path. So how is that helping the natives? Why should i contribute to the leaflets to just “raise awareness” and watch nothing done after? I would much rather you concerted efforts on providing them some form of legal/ financial aid. It’s not that everything is about money, but there’s no use adopting a “let’s help everyone” hippie culture and then not fulfilling the promise.

Set up a cause that people will contribute materially to. I challenge you to do that next rainforest music festival.

Comment by jason

it’s easy to sit back and critic. Not sure who’s ‘you’ and ‘your’ rally Jason is talking about. I don’t organize this, but I happen to hear of this campaign and think the msg it brings is important. A msg far more important and of value to help spread, rather than Jason’s comments with ridiculous analogies.

Talk is cheap. who doesn’t know marketing is important? but spending 6 para of it with bad off-tangent analogies, and with nothing really insightful to say is quite irritating and may I say risk being an example of his own grouse at bad ‘marketing’. Jason’s bad analogies reflective of his lack of understanding and sincerity deflects readers from what he is really trying to say, which I’m guessing is about approaches and and strategies.

What are these activist propagands popping up like mushrooms Jason is talking about? Being green and eco-friendly are the buzzwords or the day. The smart thing to do is to know which may be ‘using’ this popular thing for their own benefit ie profit making companies or celebrities trying to get famous, and which are the more sincere ones. Knowing which are the hypocritical projects are important to know which campaign to support. It seems Jason is rather confused and lumps everything together as some activist mumbojumbo. I guess we shouldn’t blame him too much since many people are ‘unaware’ of entities seemingly doing good but on the other hand, benefitting from or allowing massive problems to go ahead when they have to responsibility or power to do something. Hence that’s why we need ‘AWARENESS’, even as a start. So don’t belittle attempts at raising awareness. The last thing we want is behaviour without awareness.

Frankly, I am sick of people using activist and NGO language that seems to be becoming fashionable, for projects to popularize/benefit themselves. I’m also sick of egoistical critics who only know how to critic without knowing much, even when a campaign has something important to say.

Behaviour isn’t only about giving money. I’m not the organizers but I would think there are already fund raisers who do that. Maybe it is not the objective of this campaign to collect money when there are others doing it. other considerations being in the sticky situation of permits etc. Frankly I don’t think many entities collecting money at a festival would do well for appropriate ‘strategy’ Jason speaks of. If raising awareness is the goal of this campaign, then why deflect it with collecting money. I support this campaign and i hope others too will help the campaign where needed. not simply be some egoistic know-it-all wasting resources by doing things without much thought. Jason should challenge himself to put his action where his mouth is, and DO something to help, if he cannot offer better, more creative or insightful solutions.. which would indeed be difficult to achieve, if one does not have the right awareness.

Comment by a tribe

yo ‘a tribe’, pay no heed to tat ‘j’ lettered ignoramus. judging from his comments and watever he tried to purport, it is evident tat he’s not one of those who’s ‘in-the-know’ abt a lot of the shit tats happening down in tat particular backyard in swak. ‘ill-informed’ may be a better classification for his types. prolly one of those young smart alecky yuppies. he really ought to take the trouble to do some research and read up on these issues first b4 opening his big mouth.

having said tat, his inadequacies may be mitigated if one were to consider tat non-sarawakian developers and planters are also not tat well informed abt ncr issues and continues to blindly buy into the state, and other places thats susceptible to ncr conflicts.

i’ll juz end wit one last statement, bro.
“empty vessels make the most noise.”

Comment by treehugger

these timber and plantation people not only bite us. they suck our blood.

The orang asli in the forest is a part of the “rainforest” itself. The flower that we pluck, the trees that we cut caused no harm to environment.

easy to say…. you guys never knew what it feel being chased out from your own home, throwing out from your own land….

thats just the land issue alone……. hundreds more other issue…

being marginalized… being sidelined… denied our “par with malay” right and so on and so on

Comment by sagaraptor

I lived in KL for 22 years and in 1992, when it was becoming too much like Neraka (Hell), moved to a forest reserve in Ulu Selangor where I ended up marrying an Orang Asli girl. This is now my home, my kampong. Over the years I have experienced what all indigenous folk have suffered, namely, being shoved aside in the name of “development and progress.” But that’s really just an excuse for a few politically connected companies to make big bucks without regard to the long-term consequences to either the land or the local people. It so happens that I have been attending the Rainforest World Music Festival since 1998 when it began. During the first few years I was completely charmed by the fantastic music and carnival atmosphere; but in recent years as the event became more established I was troubled by the inherent hypocrisy of promoting the fast-dying Borneo rainforest and ethnic music as a museum display for tourists. By then I had become friends with many people working for the Sarawak Tourism Board – so it was easier to close an eye to the conflict between corporate and human interests and simply enjoy the fun every year. However, deep down, my heart bleeds whenever a beautiful forest is cleared for cash crops. For thousands of years humans have taken whatever they wanted from Mother Nature without understanding the bigger picture and the meaning of accountability and reciprocity.
In the 21st century we can no longer carry on like this and allow barbarians wearing bow-ties to destroy our own future through their relentless avarice. The evil aspects of corporate greed are always hidden by clever public relations. That’s what many young people like Jason have been trained to do – become spin doctors for the establishment. After all, to afford a fancy lifestyle you need a big, fat salary from the big, fat corporations. Taking the side of the powerless poor won’t make you rich! I understand Jason’s mind because I have many friends who are trapped in advertising and PR – but, like drug addicts, they cannot change their “lifestyle” – it’s too comfortable and flattering to their egos. What is the solution to our modern dilemma? Frankly, after the recent elections, we have seen that even a mighty force like Barisan Nasional can be shaken to its roots and begin to crumble into dust – when enough of us dedicate ourselves to natural justice and simple truth. The time for radical change is indeed upon us – and I believe Evolution, Mother Nature, and all that we hold sacred is on our side. Robber barons in business and politics have had their day and very soon their ilk will not be tolerated on this earth. Recently I found a blog called ‘Sarawak Headhunter’ which addresses these issues. I was moved by the sincerity and passion of the blog owner, Al Tugauw, and inspired by such signs that the people of Sarawak are ripe for a radical change in their attitude to politics. People like Taib Mahmud and Ting Pek Khiing are like rotten teeth poisoning the system. Push hard together and they will jatuh!

Comment by Antares

hi my name is jalaya binAwel and i come from duaune island which is located in teh torres strait and my man is barney blair and he is grade 9 and he skool at st.brendans college which is located in yeppoon near rockhampton and my man comes from rockhampton and he used to live in woorabinda which is located in the west of rockhampton.

Comment by jalaya binawel

wow!I did not no that. Intell now. We war onedering if we cud see some piters. cazz i am doing a project on the rainforist.

Comment by ashlynn

i think yall have some nice things in the rainforest but then i dont like when people hurts anmails

Comment by mary

i like development but i dont like they kill our nice forest..please!!enough cut the tree at my way…huhu

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